Named after retired Chicago police officer Jim Mullen, who was seriously injured in the line of duty, Mullen's Bar & Grill first opened its doors in the Windy City before branching out to Pittsburgh. Classic bar fare such as boneless wings, nachos, and burgers shares menu space with deep-fried philly cheesesteak sandwiches and SpaghettiO's straight from the can. An entire squad of flat-screen televisions hangs from exposed rafters so eaters can easily view broadcasted sports without craning their necks or duct taping rear view mirrors to their wrists. Mullen's Bar & Grill has two locations, one stationed near the cheering crowds at PNC Park and the other in the midst of the nightlife scene on Carson Street.
You wouldn't expect a restaurant that specializes in beef brisket, wood-grilled steaks, and burgers to be referred to as "a hidden vegan-friendly gem" by a blogger from Yummy Plants. And yet, Double Wide Grill satisfies both meat- and vegetable-lovers, with menus that run the food-chain gamut from lentil veggie burgers to St. Louis–style pork ribs. Adding to the eclectic feel, both of the restaurant's locations are housed in converted gas stations where vintage pumps still stand out front. Indoors, the decor pays homage to these rugged beginnings with bottle-based chandeliers, a hubcap ceiling, and a vintage trailer that recalls Floridian vacations to the wetlands where all lawns' pink flamingos migrate every year.
Patrons can also stop by on weekend mornings for brunch on the outdoor patio, or hang around until late at night for karaoke and more than 30 types of beer at the license-plate-covered bar. Sports fans can watch games on four 10-foot-wide high-resolution projection screens.
Voted Best Downtown Lunch Spot by the readers of Pittsburgh magazine in 2009 and 2010, Franktuary prepares its eats using an army of fresh, organic ingredients, as well as locally sourced beef. Load a bun with one of three dogs: the veggie (a vegan tofu frank), the standard (an all-beef, natural-casing frank), or the locavore (an all-beef, organic, grass-fed frank). Chomp down on an au naturel naked frank ($2.75+), or add your own toppings.
Colors & Bottles' founder Jessica Burley and her band of talented local artists are dedicated to supporting local emerging talent and businesses through art instruction held at nearby venues. Their resident artists travel to local eateries and art galleries, where they teach students of all skill levels to fashion dimensional masterpieces through step-by-step instruction. They also kindle creativity during private parties held at the location of your choice, asking only that the destination be outfitted with enough tables, chairs, and paint-by-numbers templates of the Sistine Chapel ceiling for all invitees. Colors & Bottles has received a nod for their engagingly creative events on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and within the pages of the Columbus Dispatch.
When guests walk into the bright blue confines of Square Café, they find owner Sherree Goldstein and her friendly crew serving up smiles and steaming cups of custom-blended Kiva Han coffee. Preparing eclectic breakfast and lunch dishes, chefs crack shells for three-egg omelets, green eggs and ham with homemade pesto, and form their own housemade veggie burgers. Attentive servers endlessly refill freshly brewed ice tea and help health-savvy diners find the best menu options. Inside, colorful local artwork fuels discussions about which colors deserve to be primary, and on the sidewalk patio, diners can scan the street for signs of Square Café's vegetable-oil-powered Mercedes.
Gayot proclaimed Square Café a "vibrant eatery," describing the "generously portioned, cooked-to-order breakfast and lunch items on huge square plates." In addition to the well-crafted eats, the staff's energy and enthusiasm keep the café's sizeable crowd of regulars coming back—the manager, Kevin, even sports a Square Café tattoo as evidence.